In a battle of high-profile personalities, the millionaire comic struck back at the billionaire mogul Fridayand took a swipe at the latter's Cooley attorney for good measure.
The fracas between acid-tongued comedian Bill Maher and seemingly ubiquitous real estate mogul and reality television star Donald Trump began last month when Maher appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
In a thinly veiled allusion to Trump's repeated questioning of President Barack Obama's legitimacy as a candidate during the 2012 presidential campaign, Maher told Leno during the Tonight Show appearance that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump's choosing if Trump could prove he isn't "the spawn of his mother having sex with an orangutan."
After making himself the so-called birther movement's most famous face by insisting the president was not born in the United States, and therefore not qualified to occupy the nation's highest elected office, Trump later offered to donate $5 million to a charity of the presidents choosing if he would produce his undergraduate college records.
Trump, whose net worth Forbes pegged at $3.1 billion last year, responded to Maher's comments by filing a $5 million suit against him Los Angeles County Superior Court on February 4. On Friday's episode of his weekly HBO show, Real Time with Bill Maher, the comedian fired back with several sarcastic blasts at Trump and his lawyer, New Yorkbased Cooley litigation partner Scott Balber. (Click here for a copy of Trump's suit, courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.)
"Really, we're going to court about this?" Maher said in closing the show's "New Rules" segment. Uttering several expletives, Maher said that if Trump is going to sue him for $5 million in an effort to prove "he's not the love child of an orangutan," he needs to learn "what a joke is and what a contract is."
While the presidentwhose personal lawyers from Perkins Coie moved to lay the birther issue to rest in early 2011 by releasing his long-form birth certificatenever officially responded to Trump's college-transcript challenge, he did made a joke about the subject at Trump's expense during his own Tonight Show appearance last year. On Friday, Maher explained the logic behind his Trump jab.
"So playing on the fact that the only other thing in nature with the same color hair as Trump's is the orange-haired orangutan, I joked that Donald Trump needed to show me his papers to prove he wasn't hiding a bad secret about his birth," Maher said on Real Time. "This is known as parody, and it's a form of something we in the comedy business call a joke."
Continuing to riff on Trump's much-discussed hair, which some have described as gravity-defying, Maher explained to the Real Time audience that he had told Leno he would make a $5 million donation to a charity of Trump's choosingthe Hair Club for Men was mentionedif The Apprentice star produced his own birth certificate.
"This upset the Donald [so much] that they could barely stop him from flinging his feces," said Maher. "Public figures, of course, don't always like whats said about them, but that's how we roll here in America." Added Maher: "We love our free speech, and we love celebrities getting taken down a peg, so Don, just suck it up like everybody else."